Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Drought Effects on Colonization of Artemisia tridentata Seedlings by Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

Marcelo Serpe


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are obligate biotrophic organisms that facilitate nutrient uptake in exchange for organic carbon. Traditionally, the plant-AMF symbiosis has been considered mutualistic. However, various results indicate that the symbiosis can range from mutualistic to parasitic depending on the plant-fungus genotype involved in the association and environmental conditions. During periods of severe drought, plants close their stomata, which limits carbon uptake. Under these conditions, AMF could become parasitic if the host plant cannot exclude the fungus. Investigating this possibility in Artemisia tridentata seedlings inoculated with AMF spores of Rhizophagus irregularis, we found preliminary results suggesting that A. tridentata does not exclude R. irregularis under drought. This may lead to a parasitic symbiosis under severe water stress. The aim of this project is to ascertain these preliminary results with more replications, while also comparing the plant-AMF symbiosis of A. tridentata to that of Medicago truncatula, under water stress conditions.

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